Obituaries

Obituaries 11.15.2023

• Bookmarks: 12


Patricia Hale Whitcomb

Patricia Hale Whitcomb, née Patricia Jane Hale, died and was gently released in the early morning of October 29, 2023, at the age of 93. Born in Boston on February 12, 1930, she was the middle child of Roger and Marian Hale and the sister to two brothers: Roger Drake Jr. and Judson Hale.

She saw her world through a camera lens. The patterns the sun creates on water. The vivid colors of autumn on a cloudy October day. Every season provided a fresh canvas. Her family and nature were her muse, and a very personal view of her beautiful life will live on through her work.

In the mid 1930s, her family moved to Vanceboro, Maine, a small town that bordered New Brunswick, Canada. Sunrise Farm was situated on 1,000 acres. It served as an anthroposophical center as well as a working farm, a school, a cultural center, and a hardwood lumber business. This pastoral setting was the birthplace for Pat’s passion for a life rooted in living off the land as well as her visual expression of beauty through her photography, taught to her by her father. Her first camera was a “pinhole” camera she made with him. She was very involved in the daily operations of the farm, as well as becoming an accomplished horsewomen and expert hand milker.

With a mind for numbers, in the fall of 1947, Pat enrolled in Bennington College, graduating in 1952 with a bachelor of science degree. The fall of that same year, she accepted a teaching position at the North Country School in Lake Placid, New York. It was at North Country School where she met the love of her life, Francis Hale Whitcomb, “Whit.” On August 13, 1953, while they were both leading separate educational trips abroad, Whit to Ireland and Pat to Norway, Whit proposed marriage via Airmail. They were married on December 19, 1953.

After Lake Placid, they landed in New Canaan, Connecticut, for yet another teaching endeavor for Whit while Pat changed roles to concentrate on motherhood and photography.

In 1966, Whit accepted a leadership role as headmaster of a small, private elementary school, bringing them to Putney. Pat assisted behind the scenes, acting as the school’s bookkeeper, all while continuing her passion for photography and raising three children.

In 1973, the family moved to an idyllic farm in South Albany. The Northeast Kingdom allowed Pat to reclaim what Sunrise Farm began. Their new home sat on 350 acres of rolling hay fields and expansive sugar woods. Pat and Whit embarked on a life of barn chores, milking the one dairy cow, raising beef and pork, maple sugaring and gardening. It was within this community they cultivated their family, providing their children with a foundation of love, education, and adventure. This was also where they chose to grow old together.

Throughout her photographic career that expanded close to 80 years, her work was viewed in various publications like Vermont Life and Yankee Magazine.

Pat’s life partner, Whit, predeceased her in 2017. They are survived by their three children: Marian Guihan and her husband, Peter, Jennifer Elliott and her husband, Clarke, and David Whitcomb and his wife, Kim. Pat had eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Due to her long and healthy life, she was blessed with the privilege of bearing witness to their evolution into adulthood. Christopher, Alexander, Benjamin, Kimberly, Annalise, Taylor, Samuel, Grace, and Jayden cherished the warmth and tradition, as well as delicious food and antics that always ensued in visiting “the farm.”

In the last decade, it took a village to allow them to continue living independently on their beloved homestead, and the family is very grateful to many.

Earl Kinsey for his watchful eye and willingness to be of service, plowing their driveway, providing them with chopped wood for their stove to name a few. Earl was also a continual source of laughter and nonsense, often bringing various critters for visits. Paul Lisai and Andy Paonessa provided a constant supply of cheese and maple syrup.  Their wonderful caregivers while still at the farm were Danielle Draper, Cheyanne Draper-Pothier, and Jessica Locke.  All the amazing caregivers and nurses at the Manor. Pat was not the typical outgoing resident, and they embraced her for who she was.  The family is grateful to Lamoille Home Health and Hospice, specifically Amy Bessett. Pat’s children cannot express enough gratitude for Amy’s compassionate, respectful care as well as always being available during a very emotional and mournful time.

In 2024, there will be a celebration of her miraculous life. It will be a time for friends and loved ones to have the opportunity to witness her capacity to see the beauty of this world through her camera lens.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to an animal charity of choice.  Memories and condolences may be made at awrfh.com.

 

Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson, 76, of Middlesex, died November 6, 2023. Steve died peacefully, with his wife, Sally, by his side.

Steve’s life was a beacon to all who loved him — of goodness, kindness, bravery, a keen intelligence, wry sense of humor, and understanding heart.  Anyone lucky enough to be in the light of Steve’s love was well cared for, indeed.

Born on October 5, 1947, to Alice and Harold Patterson of Middlesex, Steve was a lifelong Vermonter, a product of deep, proud Irish roots on his father’s side in Middlesex, and the strong resiliency of his French-Canadian grandparents on his mother’s side, early twentieth century immigrants to Barre granite-industry jobs.

Steve’s love for his home state knew no bounds.  His passion since his Middlesex boyhood for the traditions of fly fishing, and later deer hunting, brought him great joy throughout his life.  Steve loved being quiet and observant in the outdoors. The natural environment was his religion.

Of paramount importance in his life, though, was family.  Steve was fiercely committed to and protective of his family all his life.  Honoring his mother, Alice, and stepfather, Howard Walbridge, as they lived into old age together was his privilege, his life commitment as a loving and dependable son. Being a younger brother to beloved sister Sally, especially after their father Harold’s and baby sister Linda’s premature deaths when Steve was five years old, gave him a special sense of security throughout their upbringing together by a strong single mother.

Steve discovered the joys of fatherhood after marrying his first wife and lifelong friend, Brenda Bean.  Through their years of marriage and beyond their parting, they co-parented beloved daughter Sarah Patterson together.  Steve’s pride in Sarah and her life accomplishments over the years never waned.

Steve took great pride in his 33 years of sobriety, beginning in 1992.  At that time, Steve began to live his life anew with confidence, a clear mind, and a more open heart.  Two years after this fresh start, he met co-worker Sally Cavanagh.  Steve’s and Sally’s long friendship deepened into love, and they married in 2005, beginning the longest, most joyful and fulfilling partnership and family chapter in his life.

Steve’s long career primarily was a mix of journalism, Democratic politics, and Vermont state government. Straight out of Montpelier High School, Steve obtained a journalism degree from Becker College in Massachusetts, also acting as editor of the college literary magazine while there.  He then spent six years as a Rutland Herald, Times-Argus news reporter, covering government at the local and then state level as a member of the Vermont Press Bureau.  He also worked for a time as a correspondent for the Boston Globe.

During a period of self-employment, Steve directed a state environmental awareness project, and worked in public relations for Governor Tom Salmon’s 1974 re-election campaign.   Entering state government for a time, he brought his media affairs expertise to his work as consumer affairs chief for the Vermont department of banking and insurance.  On leave from state government, Steve managed Jim Guest’s successful 1976 secretary of state campaign.  He returned to state government for the next several years as a special assistant attorney general, managing press relations for Vermont attorney general Jerome Diamond’s office.

Steve left state government for a period of years, working in the private sector in media and public relations management positions for International Coins and Currency, Vermont Castings, and the Barre Granite Association.

In 1987, Steve found his way back to what became his longest period of employment in state government at the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Affairs.  Over a period of 16 years, Steve’s levels of responsibility steadily increased in the state agency, having oversight of economic development, housing and community affairs, tourism and marketing, historic preservation, and Vermont Life magazine.  He went from being responsible for all aspects of public and media relations, to a post as executive director of the Vermont Economic Progress Council, to deputy secretary and eventually, secretary of the agency during the administration of Governor Howard Dean.

In 2003, Steve was hired as executive director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), a post he excelled in for the last ten years of his career.  It was in this position that Steve found perhaps his greatest career fulfillment, nimbly weaving together all his many contacts made over his years in media, politics, and government to assemble an impressive array of state and federal planning and development resources on behalf of Vermont’s most rural region, the Northeast Kingdom.  He immersed himself in the region he so loved and is widely credited with having been the driving force behind the siting of the statewide Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, his proudest professional achievement.

At the end of his life, Steve had no doubt that his proudest personal achievement was the beloved home he and Sally made on property that had been in her family since 1960, across the brook from the one-room schoolhouse where Steve attended school in his earliest years.  Steve always felt he truly had come home, and together, he and Sally created a setting of beauty and comfort where family and friends could join them over the years in sharing lots of laughter and creating fond memories.  For those closest to him, he was always there to lend a non-judgmental ear, a helping hand, a word of encouragement, a heartfelt shared laugh or tear.  Steve loved to laugh and make others laugh, and he was so good at it.

Steve and Sally felt fortunate and blessed that he was able to come home for over a month before he was readmitted to the hospital for the final time.  He took great pleasure in celebrating his seventy-sixth birthday at home during this time, outdoors on a warm, brilliant Vermont fall day, with many family members and friends in attendance.

Perhaps Steve’s greatest gift to those who loved him was his lived example as an unpretentious, kind-hearted common man.  Steve’s life was one of treating others the way he would want to be treated.  This honesty and integrity endeared him to, and earned him the trust and respect of, countless people from all walks of life.

Steve was predeceased by his father, Harold Patterson, and his mother, Alice Patterson Walbridge; by his stepfather, Howard Walbridge; his sisters Sally Howard and Linda Patterson, and stepbrother Robin Walbridge.

He leaves behind his wife, Sally Cavanagh Patterson; his daughter Sarah Patterson; stepchildren Katy Stohlberg, Matthew Stohlberg and Matthew’s wife, Sarah Shimizu.  He also leaves behind the one occupying a special place in his heart always, grandchild Baker Beauchamp, who evoked in Steve during his last 15 years some of the tenderest emotions he had discovered in life as a proud and protective grandfather.

In addition, Steve is survived by his sister Sally’s husband of many years, Greg Howard; Sally’s and Greg’s children Chris and Nancy, and their families, and Greg’s wife, Susan; Sally’s four Cavanagh sisters, and their husbands, children, and grandchildren also survive: Susan Martello, Alice and John Spinello, Amy Cavanagh and Ted Grossman, and Judy and Ben Whitney.  Steve’s first wife, Brenda Bean, survives him, as does his wife of several years in the late 1980s, Mary Whitcomb, and her children Dale and Kevin.  Steve leaves behind many beloved cousins and friends.  He will be forever loved and missed.

There are many family members and friends who provided help and support during Steve’s long illness, and deep gratitude is offered here.  His family also wishes to thank the skilled and dedicated staff at the UVM McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester who provided comfort and compassionate care to Steve in his final days.

A celebration of Steve’s life will be held on Saturday, November 25, at 2 p.m., at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, located at 130 Main Street, with a reception immediately following.

 

Patricia Anne Lewis

Patricia Anne Lewis was born August 24, 1940, in Beebe, Quebec, to Harold and Glenna (Shelden) Taylor.  She attended Beebe Intermediate School and Stanstead College and graduated from Bugbee Business College with a secretarial diploma.  Pat was a member of Wesley United Church in Beebe and was active in the UCW II, taught Sunday school, and sang in the choir.  Immediately following graduation from Bugbee, Pat worked as secretary to the headmaster of Stanstead College.

On July 4, 1958, she married Richard R. Lewis. Dick and Pat spent a couple of years in Wertheim, Germany, while he was serving in the U.S. Army.  Upon returning home, they farmed in Marlington, Quebec, for ten years and moved to Holland in 1971.

While living in Quebec, she often was a substitute teacher at Sunnyside School in Rock Island.  After moving to Holland, Pat became active in Morgan United Church. She was treasurer there from 1976 to 1988, and from 2003 to 2015; she served as deaconess, was on the community service committee, leader for the singles group and in the choir.  She was treasurer of the United Christian Academy in Newport for 11 years.  She also worked as the bookkeeper for several years at Ford Tractor in Derby.

After the death of her husband in January of 1980, Pat returned to school, attending Fanny Allen Memorial School of Practical Nursing in Winooski and graduating in July of 1981. She started working at North Country Hospital, primarily in the Intensive Care Unit, and retired from there in September 2003.  She also did hospice work for Visiting Nurses Association and professional nursing.

Pat enjoyed spending time with her family and friends.  She spent many hours reading, doing handiwork, cooking, and (in the summer) gardening.

She is survived by her son Randy of Claremont, New Hampshire; by her two daughters: Patti Lewis of North Fayston, and Terri Pare and her husband, Alan, of Hartford; by four grandsons:  Jason Benoit and his wife, Natalie, Jordan, Jared, and Jeffrey Lewis and his wife, Blake; by one granddaughter Taylor Quenneville; by four great-grandsons: Joshua Benoit, and Jakob, Rhilee, and Evan Lewis; and by one great-granddaughter Anberlin Benoit.  She also leaves behind her brother Peter and his wife, Helene, of Beebe; her nephew Eric and niece Nancy; and by her dear friend Nancy.

Pat was predeceased by her husband, Richard, in 1980; by her son Richard in 2019; by her parents, Harold and Glenna Taylor; by her grandsons Joshua Benoit and Ryan Lewis; and by her granddaughter-in-law Jessica.

Pat’s credo for life was, “one day at a time,” realizing that it doesn’t help to worry about what is coming tomorrow but to make the most of each day.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to United Christian Academy, 65 School Street, Newport, Vermont 05855, for its financial aid program; or to Morgan Church, care of Shelly Lontine, treasurer, P.O. Box 824, Newport, Vermont 05855, for food basket items for families in need.

At Pat’s request there will be no calling hours.  Services will be at the Morgan Church on November 18, at 1 p.m., with the Reverend Michael DeSena officiating.

 

“Footprints”

One night a man had a dream

He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life

Each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;

one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life

there were only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him, and he questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,

you’d walk with me all the way.

But I noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,

there is only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”

The Lord replied,

“My precious, precious child.

I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of trial and suffering,

when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I carried you.”

obit hall photo 15 inches

 

Kenneth Hall

Kenneth Hall, 70, of Irasburg, died and passed onto his heavenly home with Jesus on November 5, 2023, after a long battle with cancer.  He was born on June 21, 1953, to Collins Hall and Ruth Nault, who predeceased him.

Ken leaves his wife, Beverley, of Irasburg; his daughters: Laurie Hall and her partner, Chad Fontaine, of Orleans, and Julie Gustin and husband, Derek, of Newport Center.  He also leaves his grandchildren: Ivan Lanoue and his partner, Cassie Vanasse, of Orleans, and Cam Gustin and Stella Gustin, of Newport Center, as well as his great-granddaughter Hazeleigh Lanoue of Orleans. He left his best friend and companion Lexi, his dog.

He was predeceased by his brothers Daniel Hall and Robert Hall, and his sister Mary Whitcomb.  His surviving siblings are Nancy Sheltra of Derby, Larry Hall and his wife, Vicki, Shirley McCormick and her husband, Ramon, Joanne Cleveland and her husband, Richard, all of Irasburg, and Judy Rotunno of Burlington, James Hall of Irasburg, and Tammy Gagnon and husband, Sylvain, of Orleans, brother-in-law Ken Royer and his wife, Claire, of North Carolina, sister-in-Heidi Royer of Hyde Park, and sister-in-law Theresa Perrault and her husband, Bruno, of Newport Center, along with many nieces and nephews.

Ken loved the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding his four-wheeler, gardening, and even racing at Riverside Speedway in Groveton, New Hampshire. His work career kept him outside. He had a work ethic that brought him many accomplishments. He worked for Aroute Brothers drilling the ledges in the development of Interstate-91 in 1973, repairing snow machines at Hall’s Snowmobile Repair in Irasburg, running dozer for Jean Meunier of Westfield, running compactor and being an auto mechanic for Charlie Nadeau, operating excavator for Dubois Construction out of Montpelier, Scotts Construction out of Newport, and Casella Construction out of Mendon.  His skill with the excavator was one to admire.

He also tried logging with his own skidder and operating a shearer/fellow buncher for Brian Lafoe of Orleans.  When he had completed his day of work his machine was cleaned and ready for the next workday.  His love of the outdoors, whether for recreation or working, was where he wanted to be.  He had a great ability for mechanic work whether it be a dozer, excavator, automobile, lawn mower, chainsaw, or a four-wheeler he always had it working again.  He was always willing to offer a helping hand to his children and others.

But his greatest love of all were his daughters, his grandchildren, his great-granddaughter, his daughters’ husband/partner, and his wife. Whether spending time with all of them during holiday meals, socializing, or helping them with projects, it was his greatest enjoyment and most fulfilling.

He was very proud of his daughters. He instilled a great work ethic in them and to have respect for yourself and others.  He taught them the value of working hard for what you accomplished in life and the importance of helping others. Another joy was watching his grandchildren’s sports and recreational activities like racing a four-wheeler, taking them hunting and fishing, watching soccer games, especially the goalie 99, his granddaughter’s ability of drawing and her fearless adventures.  It is what he loved the most being with family.

He will be greatly missed and loved.  He left a legacy that is much needed in today’s world.  His children will carry this on to their children.

There will be no public service.  A private service will be held at the convenience of the family.  Any donations may be made to Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice in Newport in his memory.

 

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